I’m licking my wounds, or at least licking my spoons, after failing to win the Maggie B’s Chili Cookoff here in Weaverville. I at least got to taste some of the Nantahala Brewing Co. beers I had hoped would be my trophy, so all wasn’t in vain. Though my chipotle-enhanced version wasn’t a winner, I still think it turned out good enough to share the recipe. I was encouraged by a Texas native who told me mine was best, though no self-respecting Texan would normally even try a typically Asheville turkey chili. Also, one of the judges asked if I owned a restaurant. I took that as a compliment, though he might have followed up with “Look for a new day job” if I’d answered in the affirmative.
Here’s the recipe for my Inn on Main Street Three-Bean Chipotle Turkey Chili:
2 Tbsp. canola oil; 1-1.5 pounds lean ground turkey; 1 large onion, chopped into half-inch chunks; 1 large jalapeno or serrano pepper chopped fine; 1 medium bell pepper diced; 1 carrot chopped in half-inch chunks; 2 lbs canned or stewed tomatoes; 2 lbs cannellini (white kidney) beans, 2 lbs red kidney beans; 2 lbs black beans; 1 Tbsp each of dried oregano, dried basil, chili powder and chipotle powder.
Remove seeds from the jalapeno or serrano pepper before chopping if you prefer milder chili. Brown turkey in canola oil on medium high heat. Add onion, peppers and carrot. The carrot adds color and nutrition without really affecting the taste. Add tomatoes and beans to a 4 quart or larger slow cooker and set on warm. Pour in meat and sautéed vegetables. Stir in spices and set on low for two or more hours. If it gets too thick for your taste, thin with beer or water. Garnish individual bowls with corn tortilla strips, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro, if desired. Substitute tofu for turkey to make vegan chili. Serves 20.